Packed buses and taxis have been jetting industry and cinephiles about snowy Park City in hopes of making it to a program of shows that even before the festival were all sold almost to capacity. If you’re willing to wait two to three hours in the freezing cold, you might just be able to slip in. Many press and showbiz types have found themselves shut out of highly important screenings they were supposed to attend because they weren’t aware of the protocols for waiting. This makes actually getting into a movie all the more sweet.
The Crystal Fairy
The first showing of Crystal Fairy with Michael Cera by was greeted enthusiastically. The audience seemed up for anything The Crystal Fairy had in store for them. There was an audible gasp and laughter when Gaby Hoffman’s unshaved armpits appeared onscreen. It appeared to be the consensus that there was a great comedic rhythm to the film. The dialogue was completely improvised from a 5 page concept that sprang from a real life road trip, a strange girl and taking meclizine.
Jamie is a boorish, insensitive American twentysomething traveling in Chile, who somehow manages to create chaos at every turn. He and his friends are planning on taking a road trip north to experience a legendary shamanistic hallucinogen called the San Pedro cactus. In a fit of drunkenness at a wild party, Jamie invites an eccentric woman—a radical spirit named Crystal Fairy—to come along. What is meant to be a devil-may-care journey becomes a battle of wills as Jamie finds himself locking horns with his new traveling companion. But on a remote, pristine beach at the edge of the desert, the magic brew is finally imbibed, and the true adventure begins. Preconceived notions and judgments fall away, and the ragtag group breaks through to an authentic moment of truth.
An extremely pleased audience laughed out loud during the entire film. Presumably most of them knew what they were getting themselves into with Jerusha Hess (Napolean Dynamite, Nacho Libre) and were easily won over. Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords joked that he “was cast for his body” and lifted up his shirt to reveal what he said was a singular ab.
Jane’s life-size paper doll of Mr. Darcy and her “I Love Darcy” tote may be tattered, but even in her thirties, she hasn’t grown out of her obsession with all things Jane Austen. Careworn by love, she saves enough to fulfill her dream of stepping into Austen’s world and heads to Austenland for an “immersive” vacation to eschew all things modern. And it couldn’t be more perfect. There’s an imposing manor with verdant grounds for afternoon promenades, rosy-faced servants, trusty steeds for hunting expeditions, gilded drawing rooms for evenings spent in polite conversation, and, yes, gallant young suitors. Unfortunately, due to limited funds, she’s relegated to lesser quarters and drearier costumes than fellow bachelorette guests, but her cares melt away as she catches the eye of a young footman, and she’s swept into a romantic adventure she could never have imagined.
Kill Your Darlings
A hard won personal project by director John Krokidas- the film is an energetic romp with the young beat poets Ginsberg, Kerouac and Burroughs. The editing and modern music is inspired and makes a fascinating watch. Never having come out to his father, Krokidas uses was a proxy to tell his own. struggles of coming out and being comfortable in his skin.
While he is attending Columbia University in 1944, the young Allen Ginsberg’s life is turned upside down when he sets eyes on Lucien Carr, an impossibly cool and boyishly handsome classmate. Carr opens Ginsberg up to a bohemian world and introduces him to William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Repelled by rules and conformity in both life and literature, the four agree to tear down tradition and make something new, ultimately formulating the tenets of and giving birth to what became the Beat movement. On the outside, looking in, is David Kammerer, a man in his thirties desperately in love with Carr. When Kammerer is found dead, and Kerouac, Burroughs, and Carr are arrested in conjunction with the murder, the nascent artists’ lives change forever.
Don Jon’s Addiction
A jumping, shouting and incredibly enthusiastic Joseph Gordon Levitt introduced his pet project about a man who objectifies everything in his life to empty ends. The explicitness of the content (edited porn clips appear) scared some of the theatergoers away a bit into the screening but for the most part they eventually were endeared as the character changed. When asked why he cast Tony Danza in the role of Don Jon’s aggressive father, Levitt mentioned that they had worked together 20 years ago on Angels in the Outfield and had remained friends ever since.
Jon Martello objectifies everything in his life: his apartment, his car, his family, his church, and, of course, women. His buddies even call him Don Jon because of his ability to pull “10s” every weekend without fail. Yet even the finest flings don’t compare to the transcendent bliss he achieves alone in front of the computer watching pornography. Dissatisfied, he embarks on a journey to find a more gratifying sex life, but ends up learning larger lessons of life and love through relationships with two very different women.
The story of two women in love with each other’s sons played well to the packed house. The subject matter was handled with so much care and tact that it barely seemed taboo. There weren’t too many patrons that seem shocked. Naomi Watts and the two young actors who played the sons in love with her and Robin Wright (not in attendance) were asked what they thought of the situation and one of the young men replied – “Love knows no bounds.”
A gripping tale of love, lust, and the power of friendship, Two Mothers charts the unconventional and passionate affairs embarked upon by two lifelong friends, Lil and Roz, who fall in love with each other’s sons. Afraid of facing the ire and judgment of their insular seaside community, they continue the relationships in secret over the years. Once the affairs are discovered, the revelation threatens to tear apart their lives and those of the young men, who must eventually choose between following a well-worn path or their true desires.
Touchy Feely is the fifth film that Lynn Shelton has made in Washington state. Allison Janney, Ellen Page and Ron Livingston were in attendance. Shelton originally wanted Catherine Keener for the role of a holistic healer but Keener referred Shelton to her good friend Janney instead. Shelton remarked that “…filmmaking comes down to understanding people…. some of these things are ripped from the pages of my own life.” Struggles with depression and self validation were central to forming the arc of Rosemary Dewitt’s character of a massage therapist who becomes physically repelled by touch.
What happens when a family’s delicate psychic balance suddenly unravels? Abby is a free-spirited massage therapist. Her brother, Paul, an emotional zombie, owns a flagging dental practice, where he enlists the assistance of his equally emotionally stunted daughter, Jenny. Suddenly, transformation touches everyone. Abby develops an uncontrollableaversion to bodily contact, which seriously hinders her chosen profession and the passionate love life she once shared with her boyfriend. Meanwhile, rumors of Paul’s “healing touch” begin to miraculously invigorate his practice. As Abby navigates through an identity crisis, her brother discovers a whole new side of himself.
The audience was pin drop silent throughout most of the story and only broke when an awkward moments or phrases here and there released the tension. Guy Pearce, Amy Ryan and young Felicity Jones were in attendance as director Drake Doremus talked about not having a moral compass concerning who people fall in love with. This is his follow-up to the critically acclaimed Like Crazy from 2011. At just 29 he is poised to continue crafting films that are looking to capture the madness of what true love feels like.
As summer turns to fall, music teacher Keith Reynolds privately reminisces about his days as a starving artist in the city. While his wife, Megan, and daughter, Lauren, look forward to Lauren’s final year of high school, Keith clings to those evenings he’s asked to sub as a cellist with a prestigious Manhattan symphony. When Megan decides the family should host foreign exchange student Sophie, the British high school senior soon rekindles an impetuous aspect of Keith’s personality.
– Lane Scarberry